Bad habits can be hard to break, I'll be the first to admit. But that shouldn't be a reason to stop trying. I was again reminded of this as I skimmed through the 300-odd pages of a new report < http://wcm.adb.org/publications/asian-development-outlook-2013-asias-energy-challenge > published this week by the Asian Development Bank. It calls on Asia's booming economies to put their energy systems on a more sustainable footing if they are to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
In Europe and the US, where the world's reliance on fossil fuels began some 150 years ago, no fewer than five entire generations have benefited from the burning of oil, coal and gas. Other regions are catching up fast. Oil, coal and gas are now so central to our global economy and our daily lives that it's hard for us to imagine a world without them. But for future generations, this may be a lot simpler.
Although global demand for fossil fuels is set to grow until 2035, with high growth markets driving 70% of the increase, there are signs that we are seeing a gradual and permanent shift towards more energy-saving and low-carbon options.
In 2011, new renewable energy capacity exceeded investment in new fossil fuel-powered plants for the second year in a row, reaching a record USD 257 billion < http://fs-unep-centre.org/publications/global-trends-renewable-energy-investment-2012 >. Based on current projections, the share of renewables in electricity generation is set to grow from 20% to 31% by 2035.
But as projects in wind, solar and other renewable sources become bigger and more complex, so do the risks. This is where insurance comes in. By minimising some of the risks, from construction failures to the unpredictability of the weather, insurance can help turn renewable energy projects into an attractive investment alternative to conventional fuel sources.
Category: Sustainable energy: Fossil fuel